Project Roles and Responsibilities

There are many groups of people involved in both the project and project management lifecycles.

The Project Team is the group responsible for planning and executing the project. It consists of a Project Manager and a variable number of Project Team members, who are brought in to deliver their tasks according to the project schedule.

The Executive Sponsor is a manager with demonstrable interest in the outcome of the project who is ultimately responsible for securing spending authority and resources for the project. Ideally, the Executive Sponsor should be the highest-ranking manager possible, in proportion to the project size and scope. The Executive Sponsor acts as a vocal and visible champion, legitimizes the project’s goals and objectives, keeps abreast of major project activities, and is the ultimate decision-maker for the project. The Executive Sponsor provides support for the Project Sponsor and/or Project Director and Project Manager and has final approval of all scope changes, and signs off on approvals to proceed to each succeeding project phase. The Executive Sponsor may elect to delegate some of the above responsibilities to the Project Sponsor and/or Project Director.

The Project Sponsor and/or Project Director is a manager with demonstrable interest in the outcome of the project who is responsible for securing spending authority and resources for the project. The Project Sponsor acts as a vocal and visible champion, legitimizes the project’s goals and objectives, keeps abreast of major project activities, and is a decision-maker for the project. The Project Sponsor will participate in and/or lead project initiation; the development of the Project Charter. He or she will participate in project planning (high level) and the development of the Project Initiation Plan. The Project Sponsor provides support for the Project Manager; assists with major issues, problems, and policy conflicts; removes obstacles; is active in planning the scope; approves scope changes; signs off on major deliverables; and signs off on approvals to proceed to each succeeding project phase. The Project Sponsor generally chairs the steering committee on large projects. The Project Sponsor may elect to delegate any of the above responsibilities to other personnel either on or outside the Project Team

The Steering Committee generally includes management representatives from the key organizations involved in the project oversight and control, and any other key stakeholder groups that have special interest in the outcome of the project. The Steering committee acts individually and collectively as a vocal and visible project champion throughout their representative organizations; generally they approve project deliverables, help resolve issues and policy decisions, approve scope changes, and provide direction and guidance to the project. Depending on how the project is organized, the steering committee can be involved in providing resources, assist in securing funding, act as liaisons to executive groups and sponsors, and fill other roles as defined by the project.

Customers comprise the business units that identified the need for the product or service the project will develop. Customers can be at all levels of an organization. Since it is frequently not feasible for all the Customers to be directly involved in the project, the following roles are identified:

Stakeholders are all those groups, units, individuals, or organizations, internal or external to our organization, which are impacted by, or can impact, the outcomes of the project. This includes the Project Team, Sponsors, Steering Committee, Customers, and Customer co-workers who will be affected by the change in Customer work practices due to the new product or service; Customer managers affected by modified workflows or logistics; Customer correspondents affected by the quantity or quality of newly available information; and other similarly affected groups.

Key Stakeholders are a subset of Stakeholders who, if their support were to be withdrawn, would cause the project to fail.

Vendors are contracted to provide additional products or services the project will require and are another member of the Project Team.

The following examples illustrate how university roles map to project roles on small, medium, and large projects.

 

 

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One: Project Initiation